It is critically important that individuals with minor children have a written guardianship nomination in place. Too often, this alone leads many to push off estate planning objectives, but it is important to realize that such a nomination allows one to select an individual or individuals to care for children in the event of death or incapacity. Without appointment of a guardian, the court is left to decide who will care for children. Something few people find acceptable.
Parents are wise to consider the implications of common mistakes made in contemplating designation of a guardian. First, sometimes parents name only one person as the intended guardian. Such an arrangement often leads to issues resulting from the inability or refusal of that individual to accept the responsibility delegated them. Accordingly, parents are always encouraged to identify a second or contingent guardian. Another common oversight is to name a couple without considering the implications resulting from a divorce or break up of the identified partners. Finally, parents often neglect to consider the need for addressing who should not assume guardianship rights. Far too often, rights are contested by individuals who presume that parents would have wanted them to be involved, when the opposite is true. Taking the time to address guardian exclusions in advance goes a long way toward avoiding unnecessary contests at a later date.
If you want to give your children a gift that shows the depth of your love this holiday season, take the time to put the appropriate legal documents in place.